Public Domain Law and Legal Definition

Public domain is the status of publications, artwork, music, science, inventions, products, and processes that are not protected under patent or copyright.  It is creative works and other knowledge in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. Most copyrights and patents have a defined expiration dates, after which the work or invention falls into public domain. In most of the world, patents expire 20 years after they are filed. Trademarks expire soon after the mark becomes a generic term. Any derivative works that a person produces using items in the public domain are generally theirs to perform, publish, reproduce, sell, or distribute in any way they wish without any limitations.